Tugboat Accidents

Boat on water

Tugboat Injury Lawyer

Every year thousands of maritime employees are injured while working on tugs, towboats and barges. These injuries are often very severe, preventing maritime workers from returning to their original jobs. The tankerman and deckhands that work on tugboats can be injured by many different hazards and conditions, including:

  • Falls on old or worn out stairs and ladders
  • Exposure to toxic chemicals, benzene and asbestos products
  • Absence of a gangway
  • Overworked and/or unsupervised crews
  • Cable accidents
  • Winch accidents
  • Lifting accidents
  • Oily and slippery conditions on ladders, decks and stairs
  • Inadequate or poor lighting
  • Inexperienced or improperly trained crews
  • Negligence and reckless behavior of crew members
  • Collisions with other vessels and barges
  • Operating in bad weather conditions

Legal Recovery for Tugboat Workers

Maritime workers who are injured in tugboat accidents are typically considered to be “seamen” under the Jones Act. Injured seamen are able to collect maintenance and cure benefits from their employer until they reach maximum medical improvement. Similar to traditional workers’ compensation programs, maintenance and cure benefits are available to the worker regardless of who is to blame for the accident or injuries. Maintenance payments are intended to cover the worker’s cost of living on land and cure payments are meant to cover the costs of reasonable medical care needed to treat the worker’s injury or illness. Unfortunately, many companies try to limit the amount of money they are required to pay to injured employees, so it is important to seek representation from an experienced lawyer who can help you recover full benefits and compensation for your tugboat injury.

Under the Jones Act, injured seamen also have the right to pursue a claim for damages when an employer’s negligence caused the seaman’s injury. It is important to know that the burden of proof in a Jones Act negligence case is very low – the employee only needs to show that the employer’s negligence played a part, no matter how small, in his or her injury in order to recover negligence damages.

In addition to Jones Act claims, an injured tankerman or deckhand may be able to file legal claims against other parties who are responsible for their injuries. For instance, under General Maritime Law, if the company that owns the tug or towboat is a different company than the employer, the injured worker may also be able to sue the owner of the tugboat for damages. These types of suits are known as “unseaworthiness claims” and are filed by injured maritime workers when the owner of the tugboat or other vessel failed to keep the boat and its equipment in safe and proper working order.

Suffering from an Injury? Contact a Tugboat Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured on a tugboat, barge or any other type of boat or vessel, discuss your case with a lawyer at the Willis Law Firm today. You may be entitled to recover maintenance and cure benefits from your employer and file a negligence suit against your employer, the tugboat owner and other third party companies responsible for your injuries. Call us today at 1-800-468-4878 for a free and completely confidential consultation.

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Principal Office - Houston, Texas
5252 Westchester St.
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Houston, Texas 77005
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